Oral Histories With Two Old Friends Now Available on SBTHP Collections Online

by Mika Thornberg and Brittany Vanisko

Brittany and Mika at work at the Presidio Research Center. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Hello Everyone! Brittany and Mika here, letting you know there are two new interviews up on the SBTHP Collections Online website. The first is an interview with longtime employee of the downtown Santa Barbara Post Office, Jackson Cianfrone. Also look for the interview with Jackson’s longtime friend Bruno Mautino. To introduce ourselves, we are third and fourth year UCSB students in the Asian American Studies Department, participating in a ten week internship with Anne Petersen through our Community Studies class taught by Professor Ambi Harsha. We are both excited to learn about Santa Barbara’s history as well as the past of the Presidio community.

Building on the work of many others in the Oral History collection, we have posted clips from these interviews on SBTHP Collections Online. Jackson Cianfrone was a Post Office employee who worked in Santa Barbara from 1947 to 1978. In the clips we uploaded he shares his memories of the prominent community figures he interacted with on his postal route, for example Thomas Storke. In addition, he recounts his experience in the 1941 earthquake and a magical moment at El Paseo. There to witness this magical moment was his close friend Bruno Mautino!

Bruno Mautino, born and raised in Santa Barbara, reflects on his time in the American Legion Band as well as memorable moments at Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens. He also speaks proudly of his wife, Phyllis Moore Mautino, the first licensed female pharmacist in Santa Barbara and her time at the Gutierrez Drug Store. Cianfrone and Mautino both served in the military during World War II, their friendship was forced to span distances.  However, their paths crossed surprisingly during the war, culminating in a joyful reunion. After they returned from the military, they both played in the American Legion Band together. These two friends look back on their experiences rooted in the Presidio neighborhood of Santa Barbara.

In this photo of the American Legion Band playing on State Street, old friends Jackson Cianfrone and Bruno Mautino are the only two musicians looking at the camera! Jackson is second from the left and Bruno is third from the right. Photo courtesy of Bruno Mautino.

You can find clips from Jackson’s interview here and Bruno’s here (please be advised that in order for the interview clips to play properly, you must have Quicktime enabled as the default player for your internet browser).

Sadly, this is our last day with the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.  We are so pleased to have had such a wonderful experience during our time here.  We have learned so much about the history of Santa Barbara and the Presidio neighborhood, an opportunity we may never otherwise have had.  From the multiple ethnic communities, layered atop one another, to the strong community ties that have persisted throughout time, we have had the privilege and the pleasure to understand how this community has changed and reconfigured itself time and time again.   Through Bruno and Jackson’s stories and memories, the past came to life and we saw it through their eyes.  This incredibly enriching and compelling experience is one we will carry with us as we as think about our own pasts, presents, and futures, embarking on our own lives and journeys after college.

Mika Thornberg and Brittany Vanisko made wonderful additions to the SBTHP volunteer team.  They enjoyed the project so much, we may see them again during spring quarter!


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